SingTel – BT

SingTel paints a clearer picture of download speeds

Telco will now publish a speed range for its broadband plans

SINGAPORE Telecommunications has set a new precedent by becoming the first local operator to give consumers a clearer indication of the download speeds they can realistically expect when they sign up for a mobile broadband service.

Until now, telcos have been marketing Internet access based on theoretical top speeds that are unattainable outside controlled laboratory conditions.

This practice, coupled with the issue of network congestion that resulted from the explosive growth in mobile broadband usage in recent years, has led a string of complaints from consumers that they are not getting what they are paying for.

Instead of sticking to the prevailing custom, SingTel will now publish a so-called ‘typical speed range’ that customers are likely to experience during their daily use.

This will first be applied to subscribers of its three dedicated mobile broadband plans who are now surfing on the go by connecting a token-like modem to their laptops.

SingTel says those on its 3.6Mbps (megabit per second) service can expect a typical speed range of 0.8 Mbps to 2.1Mbps. Subscribers of its higher-end 7.2 Mbps and 21Mbps plans on the other hand, should mostly expect download speeds of 1.4 Mbps to 3.7Mbps, and 1.7Mbps to 4.8Mbps respectively.

‘We are confident we can deliver this range of speeds 80 per cent of the time,’ said SingTel’s executive vice-president of consumer business Yuen Kuan Moon.

A customer’s mobile surfing speed is affected by a number of factors including the site he is visiting, the hardware specifications of the computer, and the applications that are being used.

Such variables make it difficult for telcos to pinpoint the average download speed for each user with accuracy, he explained.

A speed range offers a more realistic gauge and it is also the easiest way of explaining service quality to customers, Mr Yuen told reporters at a media briefing yesterday.

By becoming more transparent, SingTel is also hoping to convince more customers to opt for its higher- end mobile broadband plans.

Without such clarity, most have now opted for the most basic 3.6Mbps offering as they are worried they may not get more bang for their buck, Mr Yuen said.

As an added incentive, SingTel has also introduced a special ‘priority-pass’ feature to give its 7.2 Mbps and 21 Mbps subscribers dedicated fast lanes so that they can consistently enjoy a speedier and more reliable connection.

Customers who are already subscribing to these two plans will automatically enjoy the new perk at no additional cost.

The monthly subscription fee of SingTel’s three mobile broadband plans will remain unchanged at $29.90, $40, and $59.90.

Earlier this year, the Republic’s telecommunications regulator announced its plan to make it compulsory for telcos to provide consumers with more realistic download speeds.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore has sought public feedback on the parameters for measuring typical Internet speeds and the plan is expected to be ready by early next year.

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